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The Liège University Hospital and the Citadel Hospital are joining forces: what impact?

  • Post category:Economy News
  • Reading time:6 mins read

What is the financial situation of your respective hospitals?

SP: We know that we are going to be heavily impacted by the energy crisis because we are big consumers of energy. For example, at the level of the Citadel, in 2021, the gas and electricity costs were 3 million euros, in 2022 it will be 5 million, and 2023 15 million. There is also the indexation of wages, a 20% increase in work, medical equipment, foodstuffs…

MDP: At the CHU, we are going to have an increase of 10 million euros in energy for 2022. We fear more for 2023. And all the supplies are also increasing. If we caricature, a hospital is a hotel in which we provide care. We have the same difficulties, whether it’s food, staff, maintenance, repairs…

What have you already put in place to reduce your energy bill?

SP: We run energy-saving campaigns in administrative offices by reducing the temperature to 19° and one out of two neon lights works. We will also try to put the staff in telework two days a week. In the care units, we keep at least 22 degrees. We’ve dimmed the lights in the parking lot. We also have the equivalent of a football field of photovoltaic panels on our roofs, which produces 1 to 2% of our energy needs. We would also like to place panels on our facades. But all this will not compensate for our additional costs.

MDP: At the CHU, we are building car parks, to which we will add up to 10,000 m2 of photovoltaic panels, which represents more than two football pitches, making it possible to cover between 3 and 5% of annual consumption. .

When and how was your hospital group project born?

SP: Since February. We have set up working groups (HR, finance, technical, logistics, security, IT, purchasing, etc.) so that the teams work on the points of convergence of our merger. Our teams have plenty of ideas.

MDP: We have a triple scarcity of resources: caregivers, doctors, financial. For these three reasons, we no longer have the means to do everything everywhere for what is rare and complex. We can no longer multiply the sites where we do the same very specialized specialties; this requires expensive equipment, fewer specialized people, which creates competition. Add to that the law on hospital networks by Maggie De Block, and now the royal decree by Frank Vandenbroucke which specifies that certain supra-regional missions can only be carried out in a single hospital per network. We therefore decided, after consulting the medical councils, in partnership with the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, to bring together 5 medical working groups on the 5 supra-regional areas where the CHU and the Citadel have this same specialty: pediatrics in the broad sense ( rare disease, transplant, etc.), gynecology, cardiac surgery and interventional cardiology, neurology, and trauma center. They must return their report by the end of November. This will be submitted to the medical councils and boards of directors in December. From there, we will see what agreement we can find and if we can go to a hospital group.

Has the energy crisis accelerated your approach?

SP: It is an ambitious medical plan that initiates our approach. The economic situation puts us in an emergency. We want to continue to provide quality care at the best cost, especially as a public institution. We know that if we don’t, it will be harmful for everyone. This move is a triple win. A Win for the patient because we will always provide him with quality care at reasonable rates, because we do not want to add supplements. A Win for employees because we want to ensure their future and that they can continue to work. And finally a Win for institutions.

MDP: Like other hospitals such as in Brussels or in Hainaut, the objective is to create a public, university hospital group, always aiming for excellence, with a university approach to teaching, research, and training, and mobility of caregivers depending on the pathology being treated. To illustrate, it’s like a marriage contract in which we define what we put in common or not. We will thus pool everything that is administrative, IT, cybersecurity, logistics to be more efficient. A hospital, even a public one, is a business, it can go bankrupt.

What will change for the staff or the patient?

SP: There will be no job cuts, everyone keeps their current status. A new status will be created for new entrants. On the other hand, any natural departure will not be replaced. In terms of investment, we will only do one on a specialty. For renovation projects, we finish what is in progress. For the rest, one puts a time out because the medical plan will surely modify our investment plan. There is a common reflection for the future of the sites of Château Rouge, aging which must be demolished, and Brull. We are advancing on the idea of ​​pooling local polyclinics.

MDP: Each hospital will keep its basic care, but we will share the specialties. The working groups must determine on which site it would be more appropriate to do such a specialty, depending on the historical expertise and the means already achieved.

Should we expect a name change?

SP: It’s still too early to talk about it. If there is an end-of-year agreement, we give ourselves the year 2023 to write the grouping, the “marriage contract”. And this contract will evolve over time. In the future, nothing will be decided without informing or asking the opinion of the partner. In the end, it’s a return to the initial, at the Bavarian hospital, before The CPAS goes up to the Citadel, and the University sets up in Sart Tilman, with positions at stake. We are looking for engineers, computer scientists, highly qualified technicians, workers…